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Hepatitis
 

Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver from a virus. World-wide more than 170 million people are infected with this potentially fatal or life-threatening disease. The hepatitis C virus causes liver inflammation and when the disease becomes chronic, it can lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver failure and cancer. Liver failure due to chronic hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation today.

How is Hepatitis C transmitted?
Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood and blood products, e.g. intravenous drug use by sharing of needles and syringes; small cuts caused, for example, by razors, etc. Before the introduction of blood screening tests in 1992, hepatitis C was also transmitted by blood transfusions. It is rarely transmitted sexually, if at all. Most infected people do not notice that they have the disease as symptoms are rare. If they occur, they are unspecific and include fatigue, occasional stomach-aches and headaches.

Treatment
Standard treatment of the blood-borne virus is through injections of interferon or a combination of interferon and other antiviral drugs. Interferons are natural proteins called cytokines which the body makes to fight viruses. The major side effect of interferon therapy is flu-like symptoms with fever, joint and muscle aches.

To treat patients with chronic hepatitis C, a new therapy with a pegylated interferon is now being made available. Pegylation extends the life of interferon therapy allowing it to fight the virus longer.

Beside other testing methods, Hepatitis can be detected by molecular diagnostic means. Available Taj Pharmaceuticals Diagnostics tests are basing on the Polymerase Chain Reaction. They are sensitive, reliable and rapid, and enable clinical laboratories to detect viral load for the quantitation of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA in human serum or plasma.

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